By Jennings Fort.
AT&T Insider Staff Writer

What do you do when a giant satellite dish has outlived its usefulness?

The Bartlett Gateway Earth Station satellite dish:

  • 98.4 feet in diameter
  • 300 tons
  • Size of the infield of a regulation softball diamond

First, you take stock of all its accomplishments over the years. Then, you blow it up.

We recently bid farewell to our Bartlett Gateway Earth Station antenna in Talkeetna, Alaska, about 2 ½ hours north of Anchorage. Built in 1974, it was the first of its kind in the state. And, in its heyday, it connected a growing number of villages to the rest of the world.

"This was a landmark for the local area of Talkeetna because the pilots could see it a long ways out," said Michael Patterson, a network manager in Anchorage. "And it's the biggest satellite dish we have in our inventory in Alaska."

The station initially handled voice service. But that moved to another facility when a digital network rolled out in the mid-1990s. The station's last job was to check on satellite performance in 2000. It closed soon after.

Now, it was time to say goodbye.

Here's to you, Bartlett station. You did great.